Thursday, December 15, 2011 - 3:16am
A space heater that was too close to combustible materials is listed as the cause of last night's fire at 1174 Petra Place. The fire was reported at 6:08 PM and caused approximately $10,000 damage to an apartment in the eight-unit building. No injuries were reported at the scene.
Madison Ladder Company 6 was the first unit to arrive and discovered a small amount of smoke coming from a charred bedroom. The occupants had doused most of the flames with buckets of water before evacuating the apartment due to the smoky conditions.
Firefighters completed the extinguishment and ventilated smoke from the building. The American Red Cross was called to the scene and assisted the occupants with temporary housing and immediate personal needs. The occupants did have renters insurance, unlike many renters who experience a fire.
Most of the fire, smoke and water damage was limited to the apartment and its contents.
The apartment where the fire occurred did not meet the requirements of the city's smoke alarm ordinance. Fortunately, the occupants were awake, smelled the smoke and were able to safely exit the building. The building owner is responsible for complying with the smoke alarm ordinance and the city may take legal action.
The National Fire Protection Association and the Madison Fire Department offer the following safe heating tips:
• Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
• Have a three-foot "kid-free zone" around open fires and space heaters.
• Never use your oven to heat your home.
• Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions.
• Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
• Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
• Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
• Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
• Test smoke alarms monthly.
- Eric Dahl, 608-261-9845